Rumah Cemara – they’re football crazy!

An inspiring organisation set up by five former drug users who have rebuilt their lives, Rumah Cemara now reaches and supports drug users and hundreds of people living with HIV across West Java.

Based in Bandung, Rumah Cemara is well known in this bustling cosmopolitan city, thanks not only to their excellent work but also their football.

Rumah Cemara has set up their own football team as a way of keeping healthy and reaching out into the wider community, helping to break down stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV. Members of the team are both HIV positive and negative.

Dressed in distinctive green and white strips they play organisations, businesses, government and groups across the city and the region. It’s a good way of building understanding of people living with HIV, rapport and respect.

Ginan Koesmayadi is the Captain, one of the founders of Rumah Cemara and its director. He set the team up as a way of getting former drug users to focus on other things in life.

‘Football is good for your health, we release our tension when we play a match. We love to watch football and we love to play plus we build good relationships with people through our football.’

And they take it very seriously, training twice a week and playing matches every Saturday. They play well.

In June Rumah Cemara won the national Indonesian football tournament of teams from drug rehabilitation centres, competing against 14 teams from across the country and organised by the National Narcotics Board. In a recent match played at the football stadium at Bandung University they won 4-3 against a local telecommunications company.

Their success is not only due to the dedication to their training regime but also to great team work.

‘For us it’s not just about the work or about only the football. It strengthens the bond that we have with each other,’ explains Ginan.

This builds on the philosophy of the organisation as a family. They refer to each other as brothers and sisters rather than friends because family are there to help through the tough times and all of these young people have been or are going through very tough times.

Football is breaking down barriers in this community and increasing peoples’ understanding of HIV and drug users. (Alliance)


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